Friday, September 12, 2014


Bread and Wine

Euripides, Bacchae 274-283 (Tiresias speaking to Pentheus; tr. Moses Hadas and John McLean):
Mankind, young man, has two chief blessings: goddess Demeter—the earth, that is; call her whichever name you will—who sustains men with solid food, and this son of Semele, who came later and matched her gift. He invented the liquid draught of the grape and introduced it to mortals. When they get their fill of the flowing grape, it stops their grief. It gives them sleep and forgetfulness of daily sorrows. There is no other medicine for trouble.

                                          δύο γάρ, ὦ νεανία,
τὰ πρῶτ᾽ ἐν ἀνθρώποισι· Δημήτηρ θεά—        275
Γῆ δ᾽ ἐστίν, ὄνομα δ᾽ ὁπότερον βούλῃ κάλει·
αὕτη μὲν ἐν ξηροῖσιν ἐκτρέφει βροτούς·
ὃς δ᾽ ἦλθ᾽ ἔπειτ᾽, ἀντίπαλον ὁ Σεμέλης γόνος
βότρυος ὑγρὸν πῶμ᾽ ηὗρε κἀσηνέγκατο
θνητοῖς, ὃ παύει τοὺς ταλαιπώρους βροτοὺς        280
λύπης, ὅταν πλησθῶσιν ἀμπέλου ῥοῆς,
ὕπνον τε λήθην τῶν καθ᾽ ἡμέραν κακῶν
δίδωσιν, οὐδ᾽ ἔστ᾽ ἄλλο φάρμακον πόνων.

278 ἔπειτ᾽, ἀντίπαλον Housman: ἐπὶ τἀντίπαλον LP

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